retired nba players who staged a comeback sidney moncrief

4 NBA Players Who Retired and Staged a Successful Comeback

The times are miserable and chaotic for the New York Knicks.

As if the drought hasn’t entirely played out yet with five straight losing seasons, Richard Jefferson chose to retire instead of playing for the team.

Let that sink in first.

It was difficult enough for the Jim Dolan-owned team, which was the only franchise to offer him a job. What more hearing a 17-season, admittedly washed Jefferson outright refused millions of dollars in exchange for becoming a Knicks player?

At this point, though, we won’t know whether Jefferson will ever come back playing.

However, these NBA players knew that they have to make a comeback and proved their worth once more.

If you’ve meant to ask that question, yes, he can. He can come back at any stage of retirement. It is the right of any retired NBA player.

Can a player come back after retirement?

Comebacks are not equally successful, however, at least compared with these returning players. 

#4 Richie Guerin

Guerin was one of the most underrated NBA Hall of Famers nominees in 2013, but he deserved all the praise and recognition. 

For one, he scored 57 points in a historic game against Syracuse Nationals. It broke scoring records and the curse of eight losses straight against the Nationals.

Unfortunately for him, he played in the New York Knicks when it was yet to win its first NBA championship. 

Guerin retired after the 1966-67 season as a player before he jumped to Atlanta Hawks as a head coach. While there, he was forced a comeback because his players had injuries.

He was the New York hero of his time. When he first set foot in Madison Square Garden for the first time after being traded with the Hawks, Geurin got a five-minute standing ovation.

Yes, he was that great. 

#3 Sidney Moncrief

Hall of Famer Moncrief decided to retire after ten seasons with the NBA and while he was still in his prime. 

A Milwaukee Bucks legend, he was a Defensive Player of the Year awardee twice before he retired in 1989. Those two years were the first two years that the award existed. Some even argued that it was created for him.

Moncrief returned after a couple of years this time with Atlanta Hawks. 

Moncrief was the resident ‘veteran’ and part-time reserve, calling his time with the Hawks, specifically Moses Malone, Doc Rivers, and Dominique Wilkins the most rewarding year in the NBA.

He earned a roster spot, averaging 4.7 points in 15.2 minutes.

#2 Magic Johnson

Johnson retired in 1992 due to health reasons—he was diagnosed with HIV. He planned on playing for the next two seasons, but his health prevented his comeback.

In 1994, he became the Los Angeles Lakers head coach. He came back playing in 1996, displaying his all-around skills despite being one of the greatest point guards in NBA history.

Despite the controversies involving decreased playing time of other players when he entered the Lakers, he led the team to the playoffs. The team finished 53-29.

#1 Michael Jordan

Dubbed as the greatest comeback of all time, Jordan staged two comebacks, but the first one is the more successful one. 

He originally retired due to burnout and depression after his father’s death. Jordan focused on playing baseball to make his father’s dream come true.

He came back to play for the Chicago Bulls after a less than stellar performance with the Chicago White Sox’s. 

With Bulls, Jordan won more championships and MVP awards. 

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While at it, whose NBA player comeback are you waiting for? Please let us know.

NBA Leaders in Most Triple Doubles; No, It’s Not Russell Westbrook Yet

On his second outing playing for the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook passed Magic Johnson with his 139th triple-double record. He is now the second NBA player with the most triple-doubles.

On the game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Rockets won 126-123. Westbrook chipped in 28 points, ten rebounds, and 13 assists.

What is a triple-double?

That is precisely what triple-double is: achieving a double-digit total on three out of five statistical categories in basketball such as point, steal, rebound, assist, and block in a single game.

Only a few NBA players reached double-double and triple-double in one game. Here are the names of who hold the records (as of November 2019).

#1 Oscar Robertson (181)

Robertson still holds the career-record triple-doubles at 181. He reached his 100th triple-double status in just 277 games. The Big O is the only NBA player who has back-to-back triple-double seasons. He averaged 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists in one season while he was still playing.

Robertson was also listed as one of the best guards in NBA history.

#2 Russell Westbrook (139)

Westbrook’s last two season averages are a triple-double. Only 30 years (turning 31 on November 12) and with no injuries, Westbrook has up to six good playing years ahead of him.

Interestingly, he was also the third NBA player to get passed the 100th mark of games with triple-doubles at 736 games. 

#3 Magic Johnson (138)

Johnson’s on-court physical dominance was the key to amassing such many triple-doubles. He was a shooter, rebounder with excellent assisting skills. However, he had to retire early because of an illness. He too could have passed Robertson’s record if he continued playing for Los Angeles Lakers.

He reached his career-record of 100 triple-doubles in 656 games.

#4 Jason Kidd (107)

Kidd was the triple-doubler who has his ways with the ball. He often starts with a rebound, dribbles the ball to the other side, and passes the ball to his teammate. He was scoring triple-doubles even on his rookie season. 

He held the record of most triple-doubles that pass the 25 points until Luka Doncic steal the record On November 3 Dallas Mavericks game against Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kidd is now the assistant coach of Los Angeles Lakers. 

#5 LeBron James (81)

James is the second active NBA player in the top five. Although he also has a good shot taking over the #1 spot from Robertson, he isn’t explicitly aiming for it. And at 34, sports analysts say that the number of high-level years from King James is already limited.

Nonetheless, he is still in the running for reaching his 100th triple-double. But that the fans have to wait.

The question now is not whether Westbrook can surpass Robertson’s record because he surely can. It’s only a matter of time—there’s only a 42 deficit, and NBA teams play for 82 games per season.

The 2019-20 NBA season could be it.

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For Westbrook’s likely take over of the #1: will it be this 2019-20 or 2020-21? What do you think?

5 NBA Players Who Became Coaches

Of the 30 head coaches in the NBA today, about nine of them previously played in the NBA and Europe. 

Based on the study conducted by scholars at Cornell University, an NBA team has a higher winning percentage if its coach is a former star player or had a long-playing career.

Here are some NBA players who became coaches.

1) Bill Russell

Russell is considered one of the most successful players in NBA history. He was one of the two dominant centres of his era, recording 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. His athleticism is comparable with LeBron James.

Russell then became the first Black coach in 1966. He coached for the Boston Celtics, the same team where he had a total of 11 NBA championship titles. Russell took over the coaching position while he was still playing for the team. He continued as a playing coach until the 1968-69 season.

After his coaching stint with the Celtics, he moved on to Seattle SuperSonics and Sacramento Kings. Russell was fired from his coaching stint with the Kings at 17-41. His coaching record was 179-207.

2) Larry Bird

Bird is another Celtic player, and the best small forward in NBA history, who eventually became a coach. He was a scorer and rebounder, becoming one of the earliest three-point shooters the league has had. Bird has a 39.8% shooting average beyond the arc.

Five years after retiring as a player, Bird coached Indiana Pacers for the first time in the 1997-98 season. The team made it to the conference finals in the next three years. He stepped down as a coach and became one of the team’s executives instead.

He has a record of 147-67. 

3) Magic Johnson

Johnson is one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA despite standing at 6’9”. He has five championships under his belt, and his average records per game include 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds. He was forced to retire from playing at only 31 due to HIV. Before becoming a coach, however, he played for the All-Star and Olympics games as part of the dream team.

He became the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1993-94 NBA season. However, his record was only 5-11. He returned to playing after that in 1995-96 and played for 32 games before he retired for good.

4) Jerry Sloan

Sloan was a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls when he played, and one of the best shooting guards in the league then. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Nonetheless, he was more popular as a coach than as a player.

His first coaching job was with the Bulls. His record was 19-32; he was let go of the Bulls as a coach unsurprisingly. He moved on to Utah Jazz as an assistant coach for four years before becoming the team’s head coach. With Jazz, he became a Hall of Famer.

He has a record of 1,809-1,127. Sloan resigned in 2011. 

5) Isiah Thomas

Thomas is considered one of the best guards in history. A Hall of Famer, he has an average record of 21.2 points per game. He led Detroit Pistons to the NBA finals appearances for three years in a row. The team won the 1989 and 1990 championship titles. He retired at only 32 because of an injury.

He continued with becoming a head coach – one of the youngest in history. He started coaching the Indiana Pacers in 2000-01.

His coaching career was not as stellar as his playing career, however. He has a 187-223 record.


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